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tv   After Words  CSPAN  November 16, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm EST

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i discovered at the very moment that kent brantly was apparently being saved by the drug was the moment that the burial detail finish digging the grave and bearing the doctor in sierra leone. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> up next, "after words" with guest host professional commentator marc lamont hill. jeff chang and his latest book "who we be: the colorization of america." the author examines the idea of racial progress and discusses how race is you today in an increase we diverse america. this is about one hour.
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>> host: jeff chang it's always good se to see you. talk to me about this book, "who we be." why this book, why no treachery why not was up to me. we will look at trying to get this book out in 2009-2010. it ended up taking much longer to write. i could going to wipe a little late. the book is about the colorization of america which my term for what it the demographic changes we've seen over the last half-century and the shifts that are accompanying it. >> host: this is a term you found to use and the book. what does that mean? >> guest: it's meant to capture a lot of the cultural shift that occurred. i'm interested in looking at the way artists have changed the way we see each other and how we can live together. it's looking into the metaphor and seeing how we see race and using that as a way to ask the
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question how far have we really progress in the last half-century. >> host: when i hear the word colorization is just there was a moment where color wasn't as essential a notice but you say something more nuanced, or complicated. in the book to talk about the way race and color matter. what does it mean for a nation to be colorized? >> guest: what we saw up to the civil rights movement was in some ways what is called the a reality of race. that race was enlargement in black and white, thatcher one way of being american and that you could build empathy. so this was the way he theorizes perhaps there giunta the african-american struggle was through the music. you and i both come from this kind of the background, hip-hop, soul type of background. it makes sense to me but after
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the civil rights act passes, the voters, that kind of goes to the site and issue out of the scene becomes much, much more important way of understanding race. what we see now in the u.s. is cultural desegregation. what'wants me begun a blind spos we have rising rates of resegregation, of gaps in wealth and income and housing, homeownership and educational attainment. it's a paradox. we have cultural desegregation happening and racial resegregation increasing at the same time. >> host: step back because you talk about race and i were shipped from the oral to the visual. what's at stake when we make that shift? >> guest: race begins, i say in the book between appearance
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and perceptioperceptio n of difference. it's not biological. wwewe can agree with the. it's that the construct, something that we think about when we see. when you attach difference, visual difference to the assistance of inequality of freedom, slavery, of containment and freedom, and so on and so forth that's when we start seeing the kinds of problems that we have, so to read love talk about all the way from the turn-of-the-century all the way up until now. artists of color. now we have questions of visibility which complicates things a lot. these are the kinds of things that we're talking about now. invisibility, underrepresentation but at the same time visibility and what it means. >> host: one of the things you get this idea of hyper visibility, away in which
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certain types of colorized or racialized individuals become almost ubiquitous and syrupy dangers notion of how the world imagines race, imagines difference. how do we strike that balance between wanting visibility, not wanting to be invisible in the public imagination but not wanting our visibility to become a social demerit, something that becomes more problematic? >> guest: that's a really difficult question, a question artist have struggled with every single day. it's something that we as folks were interested in change and racial progress think about all the time, things we talk about students all about. i think that's really the third rail of trying to be an artist of color in this particular moment. figuring out how to negotiate between the need to be able to represent yourself, right, and tell your story.
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the difficulty of dealing with the images that kind of pre-cg. to shrink pre-cg. it's the burden of representation and it's a different artist of color happy for you. but now the burden is changed and it's much it's maybe a lot more difficult to negotiate enlargement cases. spent you divide your book up into periods, and when i first read it is trying to figure out what your logic was for the divisions. you didn't divide it by presidential administrations which is what i expected. it would be an interesting distinction between a reagan moment and clinton won't and out and obama moment. it's overlapping and it transcends partisan difference. what is the underlying sort of framework or the underlying
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movement for how you understand these different moments in the colorization? >> guest: another good question. i wanted to proceed as a cultural history. spoken through the eyes of the artist for trying to make change. it's interesting you said you expected it to proceed about presidential administration. that's the way a lot of history's of race have been arranged. this is meant to be a different kind of thing. i wanted to talk about the moments, the civil rights, the peak of this overwrites era to the beginning of the '80s as a period in which artists who are struggle with underrepresentation, with invisibility. artists like more return or who was the first african-american syndicated cartoonist comes out with the first comic strip that's multicultural, a cast of peanut styled kids but their multiracial. trying to imagine what a
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post-secondary america could look like. after the civil rights revolution begins to dismantle the laws that have mandated segregation, you still have to imagine what a post-secondary future could look like and this is where the artist enter. artists like the spiral collected a new exhibit that becomes the core group that launches protest against the major museums in new york city in the '60s and '70s to get into the halls of the institutions of visibility. then we move into the '80s which becomes the heir of the cultural force, the rise of multiculturalism and then the backlash that we see coming from conservatives, both i was a cultural conservatives both liberal cultural conservatives as well as conservatives
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cultural conservatives, right? folks were democrats and republicans, in other words. who are against the notion that there could be more than one way of understanding how to become an american. multiculturalists had a radical idea. i thought america had always been made up of multiple cultures and the people could have these different ways of living and being, and that the exchange is what made america vital. this was a threatening idea. this is what the culture wars began to occur. you see i think in the '90s, in the mid '90s to now this era in which multiculturalism becomes a fate complete. it becomes something where the institutions, corporate, government institutions begin to say yeah, we are all multiculturalists. this is a famous line. >> host: use of multiculturalism has become a platitude.
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i wondered about that. not that i disagree necessarily. one could read that as cynical. how do you make sense of that? you could argue now in 2014 multiculturalism looks different, but it still a dominant logic. it's still a sincere attempt by many people, not all people, corporations have the own interests but multiculturalism is alive and well and vibrant entrance of the coal to democratize and colorized america. >> guest: you could say that it's been into it of its radical meaning, right? this is a movement that meant to be able to foster culture and equity, that the basic idea was that if we are able to have the stories of underrepresented people told that this would create empathy. out of empathy would come a new consensus for racial justice. and a society which people could be free to be who they be.
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do know what i mean? we have a necessarily gotten to that point yet. >> host: why? is because -- there are some who argue that we won the culture wars. that's not even a debate. we understand multiculturalism is america. the debates now are a little different. it's the idea that we won so we are sitting back. others are saying there are more concerted set of economic and political piece of machinery that are making multiculturalism more empty. >> guest: i think it's both at the same time. on the one in multiculturalism reset the boundaries of civility which i think as a lot of the stuff we're arguing a students in the '80s when we were like the first group, the '80s and '90s were the first group of kids coming onto campus is that were a part of come in some
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instances, a majority-minority class. i was part of first class at cal it was majority-minority, which who knows what majority-minority needs anyway. we will come back to that i'm sure. but we at that time were like i do want to be on campus and having to do with all these racial micro-aggressions is what they call it now, but basically racial incidents. being called slurs on the street, making you feel like you don't belong. all these are happening to in the '80s and resets the bounds of civility so that now the language that even reactionaries need to use has to be couched in multicultural terms. pat buchanan has this amazing piece in his book about will america survived 2025, and he talks about how everybody can enjoy ethnic foods.
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we all like to go out and have thai food and ethiopian food but let's keep it at that. that's really interesting. multiculturalism as recent as the boundaries of civility but yet we still at a point where we can't have these conversations about the inequities and the inequalities that persist and that a rising. this is our blind spot. the book was trying to get that. on the one hand, you have folks working in the culture to promote these new visions of what the u.s. can look like. for us to get to that particular point we have to do with these inequalities. there was a poll that came out after ferguson, anything blacks and whites but the first question was does come into the events of ferguson raise issues that ought to be discussed about around race? the second question was, did the
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events in ferguson draw too much focus and attention to the issues of race? there's a big split, right? african-americans, blacks say overwhelmingly this raises issues we ought to talk about. for whites are still this feeling of we are paying too much attention to race right now. one set of folks in addition to have a conversation is another set of folks to to leave the room. we have these gaps not just in, in income, in housing, and education but also in the way we talk about race. if we can't get to those questions, they will look at a 2042 when we are all minorities. that could much, much worse than we're seeing right now. >> host: the willful neglect of white americans, we don't want to think about this because it makes them uncomfortable and
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what extent is it we really could have resolved this in the '80s. look, there's multicultural do at school. every february we eat asian food and indian food in these broad sweeping terms. we've done it. we are exhausted. >> guest: there was a set of the studies in 2007, vanderbilt university, this massive survey of parents, the parenting styles and my parents have a conversation with the young children about race. 75% of white parents do not talk to the kids about race. whereas parents of kids of color, so this could be mixed race marriages as well, mixed race kids as well, two to five times as many conversations about race as white parents. and an earlier this year in 2014 there was a david binder, mtv
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poll that was done. they looked at it and they said how do you feel we should be thinking about race? it was interesting. millennials, the ones who were surveyed year, said both that color blindness was the we got to look at race but we also to be respecting difference so this is the legacy of the '80s. is contradictory, it's both sides of the cultural wars. you have the right this notion of putting out color blindness as we drove racial justice policies, and on the other side you have this multiculturalism that is being put out by folks who are seen to be radical at the moment saying we should be respecting difference. but do not and bold question that really was powerful to me was how do you feel about having a conversation with people about racial violence?
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we are not talking about racial inequality or discrimination. we are just talking about racial bias. only one in five millennials felt comfortable having that conversation. so we are confused. this gets sort of brought back in regeneration, this notion of color blindness gets brought back in every generation and as these very disturbing effects. i think that many parents, many white parents are very good will. a second look at what happened in the past. when we talk about race in the past, we did it to a people down. if we just don't talk about it with our kids than the kids will grow up in this society in which we will have moved be a better i think that's willful and it's also may be good willed, i feel like our history doesn't allow us that racial incident. >> host: history is on their side of the. they would say my great
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grandparents are racist but my grandparents were probably racist but my parents, maybe, my kids doing like to think about race but if we keep dying often have a new kids come eventually the racing will -- that's sort of inherited. that's how they imagine it. >> guest: every generation i think has been called the most diverse generation, right? so the last generation dies in the next generation comes in to place, everything will magically be solved, right? it is magical thinking. if we just ignore them any quality it will go away and that's not how anything works. here we are 50 years after, more than 50 years after brown v. board, after the civil rights revolution, and we see segregation reaching these levels that were pre-brown v. board even as the u.s. is diversifying at an astonishingly. we're moving towards 2042 at a fast clip. >> host: let's unpack that
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inequality thing because i think you're raising something that's interesting. i want to disentangle it a bit. on the one hand, there is racial bias. there's the issue of individuals deal will force people or individual prejudice. to be some broader collective notion of who people are and what they are. on the other hand, to talk about lack of access to resource, health care, living wages. >> guest: culture. >> host: culture. that's my question to how does coulter put into each of those things? people understand racial bias linked to culture. >> guest: i think that's partly the work of what folks like you and me and a lot of our colleagues are doing is trying to relate the two together. what we say is the cultural change proceeds of coaching to a lot of us are working in this sort of very. that you have the imagination, particularly now during this period in which politics is
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hamstrung, stalemated, to be able to imagine changes really, really crucial for us to go through to the place where we can build very healthy movements for change. but getting back to the question that you are talking about here, i think it's important for us to be able to foster a culture that points towards racial justice, that artists, creative folks and folks working in the culture should be uncovering our blind spots force. we have to allow them to be able to do that, and we out to be bringing those images into the culture that we are working in, and it's a process. it's not the kind of thing where you kind of press a lever and then change happens. this is something that builds over time. and so all of the things that happened on twitter right now
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even as we're speaking, all the stuff happening on facebook right now, all the stuff happening all throughout the country in these sort of interventions that people are making, they all add up to something. that might sound crazy optimistic and hopeful, but i think it was interesting to look at the 2008 election and explosion of street art that happen. you had this obama hope poster and that gets up there. suddenly have this explosion of images of people wanting change. a lot of stuff is now spilling outside of the democratic agenda and barack obama's platform, but it's images of the third world liberation front like reborn. it's images of environmental justice, images of immigrant rights, images of all these different types of things that the democrats and taken positions that the democrats are taking a much less the
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republicans. at that point where we saw was attached to this symbol of change, obama now not as a politician but as a symbol of change, or all these other folks putting up their symbols of change as well. that's the moment at which all of his imagination is coming forth and that allowed i've been in a lot of respects this wave to build that resulted in rock obama's election. i'm not saying -- barack obama's election. we can see like what happened was in 2009 that the culture wars flare up again. that's a symbol of obama as a symbol of change becomes twisted. you have the obama joker -- >> host: how that figure comes out, unintended. >> guest: well, yeah. >> host: the initial image was
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and all the stuff attached to it took a life of its own. >> guest: the story is there's an american -- palestinian americans try to learn photoshop so takes the cover of obama from "time" magazine and he does them up as heath ledger's joker in batman, right? just posted on his flickr account and wakes up like a couple much later to find that socialism has been put at the bottom of this poster and it's been posted all over los angeles, which is where the obama hope poster made its debut as well. suddenly there is obama as a socialist and then obama as the border, the kenyan, and so on and so forth, and obama now is a symbol of all the fears, as opposed to the symbol of all hopes. that's just the image war. but you also see is the conservative movement is very smart about targeting people within the obama administration
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right away who have an understanding about hip-hop, hip-hop's impact on young people, and about culture and the role of culture in being able to move people around different kinds of ideas and policies. you will see sergeant van jones drummed out of the administration. immediately what we see is the shorter sharad incident. -- shirley sherrod incident obama making comments about henry louis gates a profile at his own tou doorstop, it is hamr for that. >> host: it's ironic. one of the key figures in the culture wars of the '80s and then being the target of these new culture wars of the 2000s. or '80s and 90 i should say. what's interesting and to bring these two questions up for me. one is sort of the culture wars that exists now are being prosecuted in very different
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ways. in the '60s and 50s it was the claim of neutrality. that the culture is just this thing. in the '80s, it became okay. your different choices we can make. george will said look, we need eurocentric stuff, or the nest is a succinct we need to push back. it's garbage, a myth. gates was in the middle. all the stuff happening to my point is now than it making us clear and earnest claims that their values are but a. it seems to me right now it's happening in different means. he's a secret muslim, you know what that means.
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is their political room for the kind of honesty that existed in the '80s where george will would write a call and said european values are just better. it is a valley to the kind of honesty. at least we can contest it. we could write back to these people. now it seems because of the bounds of civility you talk about that started have a conversation because they're always in a state of perpetual denial that they are attacking anything on a racial or ethnic aground. >> guest: yeah but i think there's still a lot of those types of things coming out all the time. wasn't it george will who made the comment a little while ago about sexual assault, and so there are different kinds of things that are happening and they can still kind of catch fire and move on. michelle malkin column to sort of concentration camp, the japanese concentration camp
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denied. the ground has shifted, but at the same time the debate is still there. belmar talking about islam as but bill maher talk about islam. these are culture wars that take different forms of course but it still coming down to this ultimate division of narratives. inherited of this great america that is about to fall into the complete of this, the end of american civilization versus the idea of an america that we transformed into something right through the vitality of its people's interacting. and again this is the basis of conservative reaction now. it's about restoration. people honest and openly use the language of restoration. sarah palin insane we can't
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allow our great country to be transformed. we must restore her and restore her values. the interesting thing about it is conservatives don't ever have to do anything but argue for the status quo. what they have to do is to adapt to the new kinds of language that gets instilled the movements are able to make changes. in the '80s are using the language of the civil rights revolution. now in some ways the have to adopt some of the language of the multiculturalists. and so on and so forth. but at the same time they don't have to ever instill new visions. those who are progressive, those who want change and racial progress always have to instill those new visions. it's always that extra burden that's added to us to be able to do that. within the left i think there's
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still an argument about quote-unquote identity politics, and certainly in the art world around identity card. and so those are different kinds of fronts of the culture wars are being fought on. >> host: there's a little bit of optimism in your book that i needed by the way. i finished the book at feeling much more optimistic about the possibility of america, possibly of us come to terms with the stuff. one question i had was, goes back to the other point about the way in which we have to imagine a new world, a new self, a new nation and our culture of art to reproduce cannot bring that out. the thing that kept nagging me as a by the book is, but to what extent is the opposite happening likes to what extent is art over determined? >> guest: what do you mean by that? >> host: in other words, i get out and obama hope person might
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dare us to imagine in this new era of hope and change. but the flip of that is what extent does the current set of conditions, the current mode of production, from neoliberalism to everything else, make is so constrained in our political imagination that obama becomes the face of hope and change, a fairly centrist liberal or maybe slightly left but certainly not a left left that we dreamed of 40 years ago. to what extent is our political imagination constrained by the moment so that the art itself -- >> guest: right. >> host: this is being limited in that way. >> guest: but i think august always overspill the cup. i guess maybe i'm optimistic in that kind of way that there are always visionary are going to get a break the glass and sort of bring it home, so to speak. it's a line from one of the
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essays around the height of the culture wars, to take a hammer and crashed the near and bring it home, just like make it authentic, make it real, make a relative your experience that's happening. i think we seem that around ferguson. i think a lot come in hip-hop, a lot of the artists have been coming out, like the toshiba that's kind of happening in the language that people are using now to be able to describe what's actually going on in which peoples experiences are. dear white people, an amazing movie breaking through i think a lot of the noise around color blindness, around race at this particular moment and saying here we are with all these questions of visibility, invisibility even have a foot in the door.
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in the movie, we are here with all the stuff going on and we are still going of situations in which there will be racist incidents and parties that are going on. i don't want to give too much away of the movie because people ought to really see it. but it's complicated, much more complicated than it was for us probably. so i have no doubt that there'll be artists to be able to make their statements, so to speak, to make the work, to have it appreciated for the formal values that they are instilling as well as the messages they are putting out at the same time. >> host: how do we think about whiteness? oftentimes we talk about color, polarization, raise. we talk about everybody but white people. how do we in the 21st century
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come to terms with this thing called whiteness? that's a central these in power and identity and. >> guest: i think that again the sort of conservatives have a very strong idea about how that should be conveyed come and should be conveyed in terms of anxiety, in terms of fear. "time" magazine did a thing a couple years ago in 2010, one of the top 10 ideas of your. one of them was the anxiety crisis and i have "saturday night live" but it is real. i believe that's a force that's leading to things like the new white flight to suburbs that are further and further out of cities, this flight from multiculturalism and this flight from the city's that have become very diverse. so that's one vision that we have going on there.
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i think the other vision again is sort of a liberal color blindness. the idea that if we don't talk about it, it will all go away. i think we need to build up an elaborate, and sort of elaborate on what does it mean for us to be living in a society which all of us are minorities? what it means is that you find the basis for a new majority and that's the political question. it's a question that republicans and democrats are fighting out in fear at every second of the day, every second of every hour every day trying to figure that out. right now as we're going into these major elections and certainly into the 2016 and beyond, it's a political question in the parties and. it's a larger political question in terms of how deformed a new politic, a new sort of consensus around values and inclusions,
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desegregation, compassion, apathy, all those good ideas that we love so much. >> host: to my whiteness question i think a lot of that though, that narrative, even progressives how can we be less biased to them, whoever that is, how we can create more access to them. there's a difference between that and being reflective, say what does it mean to be white? what does it mean to be in this position of power to have this identity in 2014, particularly would mean something rather different than it may have been in 1914 or 1814. supporso part of what i think at this moment is how do we create a conversation around what it means to be white, what it means to be a thing against which all other racial categories are measured? >> guest: i think that has to do with having these honest conversations about privilege where privilege comes from, what it means, how it gets instilled,
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how it passes the generation gets retreated. to begin to dismantle those things which have those honest conversations about it. >> host: let's go to the third moment. we've gotten there anyway but this later moment in the book because one of the things that it forced me to think outside the bounds of his black-white paradigm. because the racial demographics of the nation are changing. so how we think and talk about racial difference have to become more diverse and more interesting to talk to me about some of the factors that made that the case. why are we where we are right now? >> guest: i think there has been an emerging bush to talk about anti-black is him.
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i think it's been a very positive and powerful push because it's important for us to deal, to understand how certain races are used, how race issues, i should say it that way, how raise is used to perpetuate anti-black racism specifically. and so for asian-americans, for latinos to look at the ways in which we are talked about becomes a leverage to reinforce anti-black racism -- >> host: give me an example. >> guest: i think now questions are on mixed race children and youth and populations. in some ways there's this sort of beautiful vision that if we all get busy with each other,
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that we all intermarried or that we all have kids together, that the future will all be better, that racism will magically disappear. like we will never have these conversations anymore. we all need to look at brazil or were i in from hawaii to talk about the fact that discrimination still exists, that there are still these paradigms that are put into place that create inequalities, that are long-standing and continue. so there's a lot of discussion that needs to be had and it gets much more complicated as we move forward. but i think that ultimately it has to be about this question of racial inequality, it's about closing these gaps. it's about closing the gaps around cultural inequity. it's about moving towards a society in which we are again all wanting to be free to go to
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in order to do that we have to imagine be on ourselves, the on our identities to think about what it all means. i'll give you an example. in the bay area where i'm from, asian-american parents, to my chagrin, have been at the head of the movement to undo consent decrees in public schools. in a lot of ways they will say we were underrepresented in the past, and so maybe this is the way it ought to be in order to make up for all the sins of the past. my question is what kind of world you want to live in? what kind of city do want to live in? you want to live in a re-segregated society? i don't think that's a progressive vision for i want to be a part of and it's something i've been fighting in a lot of respects. those kinds of questions become relevant and new. what's interesting to me is that during the height of
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multiculturalism, liberals argue against multiculturalism said what we will see is a racial apocalypse, especially in california where all the formerly excluded groups i going to be fighting against each other, right? >> host: a racial war of the world. >> guest: a special act of the los angeles riots. is apocalyptic thing. told paul multiculturalism at all because that's leading you down a path of balkanization and a divided country. it's going to be happening in the cities, neighborhoods, school boards. that's not to minimize any of the tensions around changes happening in neighborhoods because they are there. there are also a lot of people in the neighborhoods have been working together to try to find commonalities across different backgrounds and histories. i think that's the kind of stuff that would like to uplift as a model for us looking towards
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2042. >> host: one of the things that has been in the news the last few months is isis and it sparked this whole new conversation about islam, fiscal conversation about difference. but you mentioned bill maher earlier. part of what i wonder is this conversation about islam becomes a way to trace the race and color issue by different means. they're not thinking about german muslims are white muslims. to what extent do we have to sort of reimagine the racial contest now? people are just saying keep the arabs out the guessing these muslims are dangerous but smuggling and racial critique the to what extent we need to look at new places as the demographic shifts happen? >> guest: absolutely. i think what we see especially after 2001 is the sort of heightened division around
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differences in religion, but then it gets racialized as you just noted. because again we're not talking about white muslims for the most part. we are talking a muslims of color. entire neighborhoods have been wiped out where the policies of homeland security have gone in and uprooted and deported like thousands and thousands of pakistani americans, bangladeshi americans, south asian americans, arab americans, entire neighborhoods have been torn apart by these different types of policies. this again is one of things that's in a blind spot. i'm a huge fan of name their favorite athlete. i can't be racist. but don't let me sit next to somebody on the subway wearing -- it's crazy. so we do have to actually rethink how it looks in the
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21st century. these are the kinds of things that i think i'm talking about when i'm talking about sort of neighborhoods kind of coming together, folks coming together across different kinds of backgrounds and saying no, we're not going to stand for that. yes these are people in our neighborhood. yes, we are all in this together. and to move forward. but the question is so difficult when you we can get down to the heart of it, we kind of have to get beyond all of these questions of what martin luther king called the great three triplets, racism, militarism and economic inequality. in order to get to the kinds of society that frees us all.
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we are always dealing with all of this noise that we are getting. and so i guess i'm saying is come in the lack of people like you and i or people in any kind of neighborhood, any kind of setting, a church, the café, the schoolyard, having these conversations what happens is the extremist begin to dominate the conversation. this is what i'm labeling the culture wars. the culture wars exist because we are not having these movements at the ground level, below the surface of what is visible on 24 hour cable. >> host: one of the places conversations is beginning to emerge again is tv. >> guest: and twitter, strange places like that. >> host: i'm thinking cultural images at the moment. i agree about social media. i'm thinking about black issues,
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black jesus or adult swim. i think about these kinds of edgy, dangerous representations. in your book you talk about even the boondocks, this woman saying basically it's a parity which is its own kind of politics. do the images that you see now making more encouraged about our ability to those kinds of conversations, the energy once, the dangerous ones, the ones that go deeper than they the ones that we often have? >> guest: i'm ambivalent. i think anybody who's reading the book what kind of see that. is really interesting that abc's fall lineup has a focus on nonwhite families and nonwhite leads. folks of color who are leads. in some respect it's an understanding that demographics
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have shifted. and again this is sort of -- so i'm going to be ambivalent here. so fox tv when it was trying to establish itself as the fourth network decided that like pepsi before the, pepsico before that, they were behind. had to catch a. how are they going to do the? we will go after youth, go after communities of color. we are going to build a business from the niches as opposed to the number one, cold, or nbc at the time that has the big audiences. we're going to go up a whole number of niches. so fox did that. they had the simpsons, on living color, all the shows are bringing these new audiences. folks were saying wow, this isn't golden age. this is the golden age of black
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to be. s&s fox tv gets the nfl, they dropped all the shows, right? so i'm cynical in that sense. like how long will this last? we know that scandal did really well, and all these other types of shows to see kind where the cougar how long will it last? i don't know. it might be a concession right now at this particular point during the latter use of the obama presidency, right, too sure of these audiences or it could be a prototype of move. how far can those representations go? i think that's the relevant question. so you i'm ambivalent about that, but at the same time i'm happy. there's the old a sort of the fighting is in the arab multiculturalist in the was like representation, like i'm happy that if you want has a shown that the i'm thinking this is a my be able to actually recognize
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and representation and recognition is always really important. >> host: you're a cultural historian to a county pushed back against your optimism, your overarching optimism even in the midst of the concession of cynicism. you look upon history and you see where we get, and in the book you talk about the structural stuff. in a very sensitive and nuanced way. we are in a jacked up a spot politically, economically. >> guest: we are, absolutely. >> host: yet at the end of the book you reiterate just how hopeful you are that we're going to be able to imagine and produce a world that, in my estimation, there so evidence for. i might sure your optimism but i
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want to know where you get it from. because the book to me talks about just a complicated and messy this that this. and yet you retreat out of that mess a sense of hope. >> guest: look, people talk about changing demographics to i can talk about changing demographics, okay? i come from a chinese hawaiian family. i married into a filipino family, and by now our plan is integrated with just that everybody possible. we have these grand reunions all the time. lots of food, lots of hanging out, lots of fun. this is what my kids have grown up around. it's what i grew up around really. i see that happening. it's not like this person and that person don't have a fight that they had been nursing for 20 years they be, right? it's not that there is sort of
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peace is in love to the whole thing. there's hard conversation that people have a sure in the corners and i can think or maybe they're using it as an opportunity to reconnect to that kind of thing. that's real, that's my reality, right? people talk about 2042, that's been my reality ever since i was born. and so maybe that's where i get it from on a personal kind of way. but we have to. we have to figure this out. and we want to get to a point where we have a majority-minority society, but the grand experiment has failed and we are no longer talking about class and race and gender. we're talking about cast, right? talking about a permanent inside and the permanent outside. i'm would like to see that for us. i would like to set for my kids
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or grandkids. i'd like to see a better world. >> host: i want to ask you to make two predictions. the first would you be good at. se&i maybe not but the brooklyn you be good at. how will the shifting racial demographics inform the election of the next president? >> guest: i think it's going to be a really, really interesting contest. i think that the republicans have to remake themselves, and the likelihood of seeing a latino republican candidate is probably pretty high. i think the democrats as well as going to have to figure out, after obama, how they attract a constituency that obama brought into the fold. >> host: which ones the? black folks will vote democrat anyway. >> guest: if black turnout is low, that will make the difference. if latino turnout is low, if
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asian-american turnout is low, if gay, lesbian turnout is low, if a young people's turnout is low, then the democrats are pretty much where they started before 2007. so all of that is real. and again these are mathematical calculations but it's not what is really interested in the end. it's not really what anyone talking about trying to build a new cultural majority. >> host: but it matters to the extent that the people who are making political decisions can undermine the type of cultural values and plurality and diversity that we do want to see, as they have in the '60s and '80s and 2000s, et cetera. >> guest: to take up your sort of cynical mindset on this computer for are able to create that coalition that will propel someone into office, will we still be moving towards those cultural the use that we want to instill in order to move us towards a better society?
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i'm not sure. the question it certainly has been very mixed and complicated with obama's presidency. >> host: that brings me to my other crystal ball request. indulge me. in 2042, that magic year -- what do we have to do to get -- what needs to happen for us to be in the kind of place that you ideally imagine this to be and that you sort of, imagine what is in the book? >> guest: we have to get through our blind spots. we have to understand that we really have to rethink the kind of divisions in segregation that's happening below the surface and how we address that. we have to attack desegregation the we have to attack these gaps.
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again, the numbers are stark, and many of us know the numbers about the folks of color behind bars. many of us understand the numbers around the educational gap. i think less of us necessarily understand wealth gap and the income gap, the racial gap and racial income gaps. but those are really pressing. i think recent studies have shown that if we try to make the kind of progress we are making around the race health -- race wealth gap now, it would take us more than a century believed to get to the point where folks would be near to being full. so these are the kinds of issues that we have to address in a very, very, you know, measured nuanced and devoted, committed kind of like. >> host: my last question is
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what i probably should've asked you first. what is it about artists? what is it about culture which it is a soft and malleable that allows us to get at this stuff, sometimes in more substantive, and rigorous ways than the greatest intellectual for the greatest philosophers? >> guest: well, part of it goes to the artistic process. the political process brings it down to questions of should this bill be written by the cutoff for the ages going to be 62 or 59? the questions are very narrow. with the artistic process, the questions are much broader and they can cascade down. what the artist bring to the table is the ability to be able to ask the impertinent, the wrong but ultimately right questions that need to be asked of us, of our society. >> host: welcome arts or because of that. this book shortly does that. it's an amazing book.
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thanks so much for joining. >> guest: thanks so much for having me. >> that was "after words," booktv signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are indicated by journalists, public policymakers and others familiar with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday come and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch a "after words" online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the booktv series of topics list on the upper right side of the page. >> booktv covers hundreds of author programs throughout the country all year long. here's a look at some of the events we will be attending this week. look for these programs to air in the near future on booktv
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on c-span2. >> for more go to our website, booktv.org and visit upcoming programs. >> you describe what a wonderful "popular science" detail here why dogs are so good. tell us what you think most people don't know about why, the kinds of things dogs can do that
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we can't you? >> example i've been using is, from my education, it's not my own they call it hamburger. what we recognize is that dogs are smelling all the ingredients and they can pull them out. this becomes important in searching for ieds because the composition of a particular homemade explosive is never going to be exactly the same every time. be a very crude and easy to making that way. the good thing about the dog is when this felt a particular amount of overcome a particular odor and they can be debt court, duck tape of something they recognized as part of the stew, they will alert on. it does need to be the complete sense of the stew and just the individual. >> the mixture of nature and nurture in training dogs do this
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to all all of them able to do it? doesn't know to have to find particular good centers? as a species their uniquely talented in this way but dogs are like people. ..
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>> e-mail us at booktv@c-span.org. >> booktv sat down with linda gordon to talk about her by biography, on dorthea lange. it is about one half hour. >> host: linda gordon, who was dorthea lange? >> guest: many people don't know her name, but i can very tell you that everyone in the country knows her photographs. one of her photographs, which is often called my grandmother, has been called the most in this

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